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Chop Walleyes with Hatchet Spinners 
By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson

Spinner rigs and bottom bouncers do the trick for a lot of good reasons;
They make a fish-attracting commotion that offers both flash and vibration
Walleyes can hone in on them by using both sight and lateral lines 
Bottom-bouncers take you down fast, they keep you in the strike zone and they let you cover lots of water in a short period of time. 
When dressed with a nightcrawler, spinner rigs offer a scent and taste that true trophies, even finicky ones, find hard to resist.  Crankbaits are great, but natural bait is tough to beat when times are tough. 
Replace the bottom bouncer with a snap weight to deploy spinner rigs at varied depths in the water column and catch suspended fish. 
You can spread baits with planer boards to cover a wide corridor and get the spinners away from noise and the shadow of the boat. 

Here's how to start;

Spinner Basics 

A state of the art spinner rig starts with 3 to 5 foot snell tied to a barrel swivel or loop knot.  Fasten the swivel to the bottom bouncer.  Shorten your leader length if you get hung up too often. 

Lindy Little Joe X-Change bottom bouncer
Lindy Little Joe 
bottom bouncer
Lindy Little Joe Hatchet Harness Spinners Next comes a Lindy Little Joe X Change clevis, which is the small piece of plastic that threads onto the line and holds your blade so it can spin freely.  It's designed to let you snap blades in and out fast to change colors and sizes without having to retie the entire rig.  Start with blades in #5s or #7s. Try metallics of gold, silver and bronze when the sun is shining; use florescent colors when it's cloudy or in dingy water.  Add enough beads to keep the spinner away from the front hook.  Experiment with colors to see what the fish want.If you tie your own, the nightcrawler harness should feature two razor-sharp Gamakatsu Octopus style hooks in size #4 or #2 
Lindy Hatchet Blades come in a wide assortment of colors
Lindy Hatchet Blades
Stick one right in the 'crawler's nose and the other farther back so the worm swims straight to avoid line twist.   If you don't want the hassle of making your own rigs, Lindy Little Joe makes a great pre-tied one called a Hatchet Harness, each features both the X Change clevis and the uniquely-designed Hatchet blade.
Stick one right in the 'crawler's nose and the other farther back so the worm swims straight to avoid line twist.   If you don't want the hassle of making your own rigs, Lindy Little Joe makes a great pre-tied one called a Hatchet Harness, each features both the X Change clevis and the uniquely-designed Hatchet blade.  Shaped just the way they sound, Hatchet blades turn easy and create more throbbing vibrations and flash at slower speeds than the standard Colorado, Indiana or Willow Leaf blades.  Lindy makes a standard Hatchet Harness and a floating version toadd buoyancy, bulk and color.
Lindy also applied the principle behind the X Change system to bottom-bouncer design.  The result is a bottom bouncer that lets you change weights fast and easily.  Rather than being fixed in place, the X Change weight merely slides onto the wire and is held in place with a rubber grommet or two, if you like. 
If you want to go deeper or shallower, you can then change the size of the weight in a matter of seconds.  If you get hung up, merely pull the wire free and replace the weight without lost time. The X Change Bottom Bouncers come in sizes from one -half to three ounces and are packaged with spare weights. Use two weights on a wire to achieve mid-range sizes or weights over 3 ounces. 
A standard rule of thumb for bottom bouncer is to keep a 45-degree angle between your line and the water. Use 1 ounce for depths of 10 feet or less, 1-1/2 ounces for 10 to 20 feet, 2 ounces for 20 to 30 feet and 3 ounces and more to go deeper than that.  When holding your rod, the best rod for the job is an 6 to 7 foot medium to medium-heavy stick with a medium tip rated for a lure weight of 1/2 to 1-3/4 ounces.  A great rod for this application is a St. Croix Legend Elite EC68MXF.  While trolling boards, you’ll have to beef up your stick by going with a heavier casting rod, like St. Croix’s planer board rods, GT80M.
For your leader material, use 10 or 12-pound Stren Super Tough for its ability to withstand assault from rocks and brush.  Still, you should check the line for nicks often.  Big fish will find the weak link in your tackle. You'd hate to loose a 10-pound trophy of a lifetime at boatside because of a broken line.  While trolling, use line-counter reels.  The "why" of that will be clear in a moment. 

On the water

Where to start?  Check with bait shops, guides and even the Internet for the latest fishing reports to see where the big schools are located.  If you can get coordinates, a Global Positioning Satellite system can take you right there.  Maps are available that feature the waypoints for places that traditionally hold fish. 
Like the general who said, "Don't fire 'til you see the whites of their eyes," don't fish until you see 'eyes on your sonar screen.  Run from spot to spot, slowing every so often to see if you can see bait fish or the tell-tale marks that signal walleyes.  That search method is a lot faster than trying to find fish by fishing.
Cover the water column from top to bottom once over a school.   Put out two lines with bottom bouncers. Use a snap weight on a third line. Watch the dial on your line counter reel to let out 50 feet of line, then add the weight and let out 50 more feet of line.  Follow the same procedure on the fourth line, but use a different-sized snap weight. The 50/50 formula lets you return to the same depth over and over. 

Church Tackles TX-12 Planer board
Church Tackles TX-12 Planer Board
Click here to order on line
Use planer boards to cover water from side to side.  Troll slowly from .5 mph to 1.5 mph with the waves.  Use gentle "S" turns to cover more area and to vary the speed of the baits.  Boards on the inside turns go slower, boards on the outside go faster. 
 When fishing structure, hand hold your rod and move up and down the structure watching your electronics.  Fish tight to the bottom are perfect for bottom bouncers and keep reaching back to “tick” the bottom.
Listen to the fish, let them tell you what combination of blade color and size, speed and depth they want.
Take a "spin" around, bottom bouncers and snap weights. They just might be your ticket to the trophy of a lifetime.

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